Modified Pieta Sparks Controversy on NY Community College Campus



A community college in New York is being accused of anti-Christian bigotry for recently displaying a painting many felt was insulting to Catholics and Christians.

During its Hispanic Heritage Month, Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie showcased a painting by Hugo Bastidas called Magdalene Mourning Her Lover. It is a modified picture of Michelangelo's Pieta, which portrays Mary holding her dead son Jesus.

Longtime educator Thomas Reynolds from the nearby community of Hopewell Junction was among the many individuals who protested the display and urged its removal. He believes there is a “disregard” for the beliefs of Christians. “I don't think there would be any doubt that they would not put a picture up there that blasphemed the Islamic faith or the Jewish religion — a picture of Abraham in some situation that was clearly not in a good light — or perhaps the Koran, desecrated,” he states.

Although the college argued that it could not censor art — a college spokesperson said that would “stifle academic and artistic freedom” — Reynolds says the issue was not censoring art, but rather a lack of concern for the feelings of Christians.

“I think it's kind of prevalent in our culture today that Christianity can easily be discounted, ignored, criticized, and really nobody's going to do anything about it, which is the bottom line,” the New Yorker says. “They wouldn't do this with the Muslim religion or the Jewish religion because they would stand up and fight — and it would be stopped quickly, if it even started.”

Reynolds says in his opinion, Dutchess Community College “supported the mockery of Christianity through art.”

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports similar comments from others who protested the painting's display. One Salt Point resident told the newspaper: “You would not mock the Dalai Lama. You would not mock the God of Islam. You would not mock the God of Judaism. You will not mock my God.”

The same person commented that “the time of Christian-bashing without consequence is over.”

(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

MENU